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Article - A Liaison Aircraft Overview
The Second World War was an epic period in American history. American military organizers were able to successfully transition from a relatively small, under-equipped, peacetime professional force to perhaps the most powerful military force in the world in the space of approximately four years. They did this with a primarily civilian army and a fabulous combination of industrial ingenuity, flexibility, and entrepreneurship. One of the best examples of this ingenuity was displayed in the development and use of small liaison aircraft.
The liaison aircraft had their origin in the light plane industry developed in the United States. All but one of the major "L-bird" designs were based on civilian models currently available on the market. The United States unique form of government and understanding of personal rights, responsibilities, and freedom had led to the developement of aviation as a tool not only for military purposes, but for the average citizen. After World War I and the advancement of aircraft technology, increasingly larger numbers of individuals used aircraft for their personal enjoyment, transportation, and business opportunities.
Although aircraft had been used from their earliest origins for battlefield observation, reconnaissance, and other military purposes... Read More Here
Have you ever wondered what the L-birds looked like in action? Check out this video clip of some Piper L-4s and Stinson L-5s being used for medical purposes in the Phillipines.
Here are a few links for you to further your search for liaison aircraft information:
The liaison aircraft in US army service were often known as "grasshoppers." These aircraft served with artillery and outfits spotting targets and giving commanders real time information on enemy positions. They also served in Liaison Squadrons, such as the 25th Liaison Squadron which earned fame in the Pacific Theater with their "Guinea Short Lines" aircraft. Their pilots flew dangerous missions over enemy territory without any armor. Other nicknames for these aircraft included "Maytag Messerschmitts" or the "little green planes." Several well-known L-birds saw combat, while others, such as the Taylorcraft L-2 likely never saw action, except for a handful that may have been accidentally shipped overseas. The Aeronca L-3 DID see some service overseas in North Africa, Italy,and the Philippines. Liaison aircraft continued to served after World War Two in Korea and Vietnam with the Aeronca L-16, North American L-17 Navion, and Cessna L-19 Bird Dog serving admirably. The German and British air arms, the Luftwaffe and RAF, also used light aircraft such as the Fiesler Storch and Taylorcraft Auster, as did the French to a limited extent.
WITH THE 8TH INFANTRY DIVISION IN EUROPE. — During the 8th Infantry Division's ten-month period of ETO combat, liaison pilots of the 8th Infantry Division Artillery flew a total of 3,686 missions, representing a total of 3,484 hours in the air.